Close Guantánamo

Close GitmoI started to assemble a list of candidates’ positions on Guantánamo and indefinite detention, but then found that Shayana Kadidal had already done it over at the Huffington Post:

Clinton: Consistent advocate of Gtmo closure; co-sponsored Feinstein bill to close it down. A bit ambiguous at times on coercive interrogation; had wanted more detail on existing practices, later stated torture “cannot be American policy. Period.”

Edwards: says “We are not the country of Abu Ghraib or Guantánamo…. We are Americans and we’re better than that.” Would prohibit torture and rendition, and close Gtmo.

Giuliani: “[N]ot inclined to agree right now [with Colin Powell] that we should necessarily close Guantánamo.” Better on torture; like most former prosecutors, understands how the professionals work conspiracy cases: “You know how I put hundreds of Mafia people in jail? … we arrested them, we got very significant charges on them, and we questioned them for long periods of time. With very aggressive techniques. Never ever tortured anybody.” [But hasn’t explicitly said that he considers waterboarding more than “aggressive techniques.” – AH]

Huckabee: “I visited Guantánamo just about a year ago. …I [have] visited every single prison in the Arkansas prison system, and I can tell you most of our prisoners would love to be in a facility more like Guantánamo….” Denounces torture and states that waterboarding is torture.

McCain: Wants Guantánamo closed because it damages U.S. credibility abroad; would move the prisoners to Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas (which would make judicial review of detentions inevitable), and is against indefinite detention without charge. Knows torture firsthand; is against it.

Obama: spokesman says: “supports Guantánamo closing and is still working to find the best possible solution for the prisoners who are there right now.” On torture: “The secret authorization of brutal interrogations is an outrageous betrayal of our core values, and a grave danger to our security. … Torture is how you create enemies, not how you defeat them. Torture is how you get bad information, not good intelligence. Torture is how you set back America’s standing in the world, not how you strengthen it.”

Romney: “I believe that Guantánamo plays an important role in protecting our nation from violent, heinous terrorists.” “Guantánamo is a symbol of our resolve.” “The food down there is unbelievable. This is not this gulag; this is a modern prison which treats people with dignity and respect.” Said during June debate: “We ought to double Guantánamo.” (Spokesman later clarified that Romney meant he wanted “to go out and catch more terrorists and doesn’t want to import them [to the U.S.]”) Also supports “enhanced” interrogation techniques; won’t rule out waterboarding.

And to save the Ron Paul Army some time, Paul is the only other Republican candidate who wants to close it.

Of course, when it does close, we’ll just detain them elsewhere, as we are already doing.

Audio: Close Guantánamo

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